ISIS leadership in Mosul is ‘melting away’ as foreign fighters disappear

BBC News reports: The forces of so-called Islamic State, now besieged in Mosul, are in a state of “frenzy” inside the city, increasingly blaming and terrorising the local population and preparing to conceal themselves if defeated.

These are the close-up views provided by academics from Mosul, who have maintained covert contacts linking the city with the outside world.

They claim that foreign fighters, once visible in Mosul, have disappeared from the city.

“The frontline foreign fighters are rarely there. They’ve vanished. The houses they occupied are vacant,” said one source, speaking anonymously.

“They’re leaving it to the local fighters, who will become the scapegoats.”

The IS leadership in the city is also described as “melting away”.

“It’s a lost cause. It’s the end of days for them,” says one of the scholars from Mosul, who have been supported by the New York-based Institute of International Education, which once rescued academics in Europe from the Nazis.

They also talk of “changed tactics”, with IS fighters trimming their beards and changing the way they dress to look more like the civilian population – with Mosul residents assuming this is to make them less distinguishable if the city is overrun.

Cars in the city have been forced to switch to Islamic State number plates, says one of the academics. The fear from civilians is that this could make all cars vulnerable to an air strike or put them at risk of being attacked in the battle for the city.

So far, air strikes have been carefully targeted at government buildings and military sites, according to this view from the city. Another says that this accuracy might seem “impossible” but so far the attacks have been on “confirmed” targets. [Continue reading…]

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